Even though Australia doesn’t generally experience the temperature extremes in winter that other parts of the world do, your dog still requires specific attention to cold weather care. This applies especially to outdoor dogs.
Just like humans like (and need) to be inside in a warm, dry, cosy environment when the weather is bleak, so do too our canine companions. Here are some winter survival tips for your dog:
- Puppies and elderly dogs feel the cold and should be allowed indoors as much as possible.
- Always ensure, any time a dog is outside, that he has a warm and dry place to shelter out of wind and rain. Also allow access to a sunny spot.
- Drinking water should always be available and fresh.
- Some breeds do feel the cold more than others. While Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows, Newfoundlands, and Alaskan Malamutes, for example, are bred for cold weather and probably quite enjoy some cooler weather, other breeds don’t cope so well. These include Dobermans, Greyhounds, Whippets, Great Danes, and smaller breeds.
- Dogs that are strictly kept outdoors (and ideally, all dogs will be allowed inside at night in cold or inclement weather), must have a kennel that is free of gaps and with plenty of warm bedding and insulating material on the floor such as straw. Position the entrance so that rain and wind can’t enter.
- All dogs should have a cushioned bed with blankets on top, out of draughts.
- Dogs that are small, short-haired, old or sick should wear a doggie coat for extra warmth.
- If walking your dog in wet weather, invest in a doggie raincoat and even booties for his paws.
- Allow your dog grooming to alter for cool weather. Keep the coat brushed and matt-free, but let it grow thicker to better insulate against winter weather. Only give a bath indoors and with warm water. Don’t let him go outside until his coat is completely dry. Alternatively, take him to a professional dog grooming facility.
- Dogs need more food in winter, as their metabolism works hard to keep them warm. Feed meals that are warm or room temperature, not cold. Outside dogs may need up to thirty percent more food intake.
- Most of all, give your dog plenty of cuddles and TLC! Let him be with you and enjoy cosy times together…